Shred guitar

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Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & John Petrucci at the G3 (tour) in December 2006 G3 - Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & John Petrucci.jpg
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai & John Petrucci at the G3 (tour) in December 2006

Shred guitar or shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the guitar, based on various advanced and complex playing techniques, particularly rapid passages and advanced performance effects. Music critics have stated that shred guitar is associated with "fast alternate picking, sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse", [1] while others contend that it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is commonly used with reference to heavy metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". Metal guitarists playing in a "shred" style use the electric guitar with a guitar amplifier and a range of electronic effects such as distortion, which create a more sustained guitar tone and facilitate guitar feedback effects.

Lead guitar is a musical part for a guitar in which the guitarist plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure. The lead is the featured guitar, which usually plays single-note-based lines or double-stops. In rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, punk, fusion, some pop, and other music styles, lead guitar lines are usually supported by a second guitarist who plays rhythm guitar, which consists of accompaniment chords and riffs.

Guitar solo

A guitar solo is a melodic passage, instrumental section, or entire piece of music written for a classical guitar, electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. In the 20th and 21st century traditional music and popular music such as blues, swing, jazz, jazz fusion, rock and metal guitar solos often contain virtuoso techniques and varying degrees of improvisation. Guitar solos on classical guitar, which are typically written in musical notation, are also used in classical music forms such as chamber music and concertos.

Sweep picking

Sweep picking is a guitar playing technique. When sweep picking, the guitarist plays single notes on consecutive strings with a 'sweeping' motion of the pick, while using the fretting hand to produce a specific series of notes that are fast and fluid in sound. Both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.

Contents

The term is sometimes used with reference to virtuoso playing by instrumentalists other than guitarists, as well. The term "shred" is also used outside the metal idiom, particularly in bluegrass musicians and jazz-rock fusion electric guitarists.

An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a Big Band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals. The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer ; as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large Big Band, concert band or orchestra.

Jazz fusion music genre

Jazz fusion is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.

History

Many jazz guitarists in the '50s such as Les Paul, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow improvised various guitar techniques comparing to contemporaries blues guitarists like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly. [2] Les Paul's song, "How High the Moon" contained sweep picking, one of the earliest recordings of the technique.

Les Paul American jazz guitarist, country guitarist, songwriter and inventor

Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his techniques served as inspiration for the Gibson Les Paul. Paul taught himself how to play guitar, and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing, delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

Barney Kessel American jazz guitarist

Barney Kessel was an American jazz guitarist born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Noted in particular for his knowledge of chords and inversions and chord-based melodies, he was a member of many prominent jazz groups as well as a "first call" guitarist for studio, film, and television recording sessions. Kessel was a member of the group of session musicians informally known as the Wrecking Crew.

Tal Farlow American jazz guitarist

Talmage Holt Farlow was an American jazz guitarist. He was nicknamed "Octopus" because of how his large, quick hands spread over the fretboard. As Steve Rochinski notes, "Of all the guitarists to emerge in the first generation after Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow, more than any other, has been able to move beyond the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic vocabulary associated with the early electric guitar master. Tal's incredible speed, long, weaving lines, rhythmic excitement, highly developed harmonic sense, and enormous reach have enabled him to create a style that clearly stands apart from the rest." Where guitarists of his day combined rhythmic chords with linear melodies, Farlow placed single notes together in clusters, varying between harmonically enriched tones. As music critic Stuart Nicholson put it, "In terms of guitar prowess, it was the equivalent of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile."

Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore in Norway, 1977 Rainbow in performance (27 09 1977 02 500b).jpg
Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore in Norway, 1977

Ritchie Blackmore, best known as the guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow, was an early shredder. He founded Deep Purple in 1968 and combined elements of blues, jazz and classical into his high speed, virtuostic rock guitar playing. Songs like "Highway Star" and "Burn" from Deep Purple and "Gates of Babylon" from Rainbow are examples of early shred. Blackmore separated himself from the pack with his use of complex arpeggios and harmonic minor scales. His influence on Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen was definitive for the evolution of the genre. [3]

Ritchie Blackmore British guitarist and songwriter, guitarist of Deep Purple

Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard-rock music which mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. During his solo career, he established the heavy metal band Rainbow, which fused baroque music influences and elements of hard rock. Rainbow steadily moved to catchy pop-style mainstream rock. Later in life, he formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night, transitioning to vocalist-centred sounds. As a member of Deep Purple, Blackmore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.

Rainbow (rock band) English rock band

Rainbow are a British rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, active from 1975 until 1984, 1993 until 1997, and 2015 until present. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after their first album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio until 1979. Three British musicians joined in 1979—singer Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey and then-former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover—and this line-up gave the band their commercial breakthrough with the single "Since You Been Gone". Over the years Rainbow went through many personnel changes, with each studio album recorded with a different lineup, and leaving Blackmore as the band's only constant member. The singers Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White followed Bonnet, and numerous backing musicians have come and gone. In addition to Blackmore, Rainbow's current lineup includes Ronnie Romero on vocals, Jens Johansson on keyboards, Bob Nouveau on bass and David Keith on drums.

In 1969, guitarist Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin composed "Heartbreaker"; his guitar solo introduced many complex techniques mixed together (very fast note playing with hammer-ons and pull-offs). Page included excerpts of classical music in the solo when playing it live. Steve Vai commented in a September 1998 Guitar World interview:

Jimmy Page British guitarist of Led Zeppelin

James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the originators of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia and folk music.

Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin song) song from English rock band Led Zeppelin

"Heartbreaker" is a song from English rock band Led Zeppelin's 1969 album, Led Zeppelin II. It was credited to all four members of the band, recorded at A&R Recording and Atlantic Studios in New York City during the band's second concert tour of North America, and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

This one ("Heartbreaker") had the biggest impact on me as a youth. It was defiant, bold, and edgier than hell. It really is the definitive rock guitar solo. [4]

Randy Rhoads performing on stage in 1980 Randy Rhoads (1980).jpg
Randy Rhoads performing on stage in 1980

In 1969, Alvin Lee's lighting fast licks playing at Woodstock was also a prime example of early shredding. [5]

In 1974, the German band Scorpions used their new guitarist Ulrich Roth for their album Fly to the Rainbow , for which the title track features Roth performing "one of the most menacing and powerful whammy-bar dive bombs ever recorded". [1] A year later, Roth's solo guitar playing for the album In Trance would become "the prototype for shred guitar. Everything associated with the genre can be found on this brilliant collection of songs—sweep-picked arpeggios, harmonic minor scales, finger-tapping and jaw-dropping whammy bar abuse". [1]

Eddie Van Halen soloing in 1977 Eddie Van Halan - 77 in New Haven.jpg
Eddie Van Halen soloing in 1977

In 1979, Roth left Scorpions to begin his own power trio, named "Electric Sun". His debut album Earthquake contained "heaps of spellbinding fret gymnastics and nimble-fingered classical workouts." [1] In 1978, Eddie Van Halen released "Eruption", a "blistering aural assault of solo electric guitar" which featured rapid "tapping". Chris Yancik argues that it is this record, above any other, that "spawned the genre of Shred." [6]

Guitar Player's article "Blast Into Hyperspace With The Otherworldly Power Of Shred" reviews the book Shred! and states that the pioneers were Ritchie Blackmore, jazz fusion player Al Di Meola and Eddie Van Halen. Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen advanced this style further with the infusion of neo-classical elements. Progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock, and jazz fusion have all made use of and adapted the style successfully over the years. In general, the phrase "shred guitar" has been traditionally associated with instrumental rock and heavy metal guitarists. This association has become less common now that modern forms of metal have adopted shredding as well. In the 1990s, its mainstream appeal diminished with the rise of grunge and nu metal, both of which eschewed flashy lead guitar solos. Lesser known guitarists like Shawn Lane and Buckethead continued to develop the genre further in the 90s. [7] [8]

In an interview in March 2011, Steve Vai described 'shred' as:

The terminology used for someone who can play an instrument, and has such a tremendous amount of technique that what they do just seems completely effortless and absurd. It's like this burst of energy that just comes out in extremely fast tearing kind of playing where the notes actually connect. Shred has to have a particular kind of 'tide' to it, I think, that actually gives you that 'blow away' factor that makes it impressive, to a certain degree." [9]

Playing style

Yngwie Malmsteen in Barcelona, Spain, 2008 Yngwie Malmsteen 1.jpg
Yngwie Malmsteen in Barcelona, Spain, 2008

Shredding includes "sweep, alternate and tremolo picking; string skipping; multi-finger tapping; slurs, [and] trills."[ citation needed ] Shred guitarists use two- or three-octave scales, triads, or modes, played ascending and descending at a fast tempo. Often such runs are arranged in the form of an intricate sequential pattern, creating a more complex feel.

Guitarists refer to a prepared sequence of notes as a 'lick', which may be incorporated into an otherwise improvised solo, or used for practising. Guitarists often 'trade licks' with each other, sharing such sequences.

The lick can be played by multiple-picking notes (alternate picking), or picking just the first or second note of a string followed by a rapid succession of hammer-ons and/or pull-offs (slurs). Rhythmically, a shredder may include precise usage of syncopation and polyrhythms. Sweep picking is used to play rapid arpeggios across the fretboard (sometimes on all strings). The tapping technique is used to play rapid flourishes of notes or to play arpeggios or scalar patterns using pure legato with no picking (the picking hand is used to "tap" notes on the fretboard). Various techniques are used to perform passages with wide intervals, and to create a flowing legato sound. Some performers utilize complex combinations of tapping, sweeping, and classical-style finger picking. This increases speed by reducing the motion of the plucking hand.

The 2000s-era focus on rapid guitar playing is centered around speed competitions using mainly the classical music piece Flight of the Bumblebee , which includes very rapid playing. Many shred guitarists demonstrate their mastery of the piece and others on sites like YouTube. [10]

Equipment

Shred guitar players often use electric solid-body guitars such as Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Kramer, Kiesel/Carvin, Jackson, Charvel, Schecter and ESP. Some shred guitarists use elaborately-shaped models by B.C. Rich or Dean, as well as modern versions of classic-radical designs like Gibson's Flying V and Explorer models. Tremolo bars (also known as "whammy bars"), which are hinged bridges that can be bent down or up in pitch, are an important part of shred playing, as they permit the "dive bombing" effect and many sounds which are not possible with a fixed-bridge instrument.

Guitars with double-cutaways give performers easier access to the higher frets, allowing extended room for the fretting hand to get extended reach onto the higher notes of the fretboard. Some shred guitarists, such as Scorpions' Ulrich Roth, have used custom-made tremolo bars and developed modified instruments, such as Roth's "Sky Guitar, that would greatly expand his instrumental range, enabling him to reach notes previously reserved in the string world for cellos and violins." [1]

Most shred guitar players use a range of effects such as distortion and audio compression units, both of which increase sustain and facilitate the performance of shred techniques such as tapping, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. These and other effects units, such as delay effects are also used to create a unique tone. Shred-style guitarists often use high-gain vacuum tube amplifiers such as Marshall, Carvin, Peavey, Soldano, Mesa Boogie, Orange Amplification, Laney, Hughes & Kettner and Randall. To facilitate the use of audio feedback effects with the guitar, shred guitarists use high gain settings, distortion pedals and high on-stage volume.

In media

In 2003, Guitar One Magazine voted Michael Angelo Batio the fastest shredder of all time. [11] [12] In the same year, Guitar One voted Chris Impellitteri the second fastest shredder of all time followed by Yngwie Malmsteen at third. [11] [12]

In 2011, Guitar World magazine focused on shredding outside the heavy metal music genre with an article discussing the magazine's Top 5 Shredding Bluegrass songs. The list included songs by instrumentalists Tony Rice, Josh Williams, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile and David Grier. [13] Music Radar's list of the top 20 greatest shred guitarists of time featured Al Di Meola, John Petrucci and Steve Vai as the top three, respectively.[ citation needed ] Guitar World ranked Al Di Meola Elegant Gypsy , Van Halen Van Halen , and Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz (featuring Randy Rhoads on guitar), as the top three shred albums of all time, respectively. [14]

Related Research Articles

Jazz guitar

The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz". The jazz-type guitar was born as a result of using electric amplification to increase the volume of conventional acoustic guitars.

Tapping

Tapping is a guitar playing technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being tapped onto the fretboard, with either hand, as opposed to the standard technique of fretting with one hand and picking with the other.

<i>Rising Force</i> 1984 studio album by Yngwie Malmsteen

Rising Force is the first studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 5 March 1984 through Polydor Records. The album reached No. 14 on the Swedish albums chart, No. 60 on the US Billboard 200, and received a nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards. It is regarded as a seminal release in the shred and neoclassical metal genres.

Neoclassical metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is heavily influenced by classical music and usually features very technical playing, consisting of elements borrowed from both classical and speed metal music. Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore pioneered the subgenre by merging classical melodies and blues rock. Later, Yngwie Malmsteen became one of the most notable musicians in the subgenre, and contributed greatly to the development of the style in the 1980s. Other notable players in the genre are Randy Rhoads, John Petrucci, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Stéphan Forté, Wolf Hoffmann, Timo Tolkki, and Marty Friedman.

Jason Eli Becker is an American musician, songwriter and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up in 1989 and Becker began doing solo work, having released his first album Perpetual Burn in 1988, also through Shrapnel. He later joined David Lee Roth's band and recorded one album with him, A Little Ain't Enough.

Herman Li Hong Kong British musician best known for being one of the lead guitarists in DragonForce

Herman Li is a British Chinese musician who is one of two lead guitarists for the power metal band DragonForce.

Michael Angelo Batio American heavy metal guitarist and columnist

Michael Angelo Batio, also known as Mike Batio or MAB, is an American heavy metal guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois. He was the lead guitarist for the Los Angeles-based glam metal band Nitro in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs alternating downward and upward strokes in a continuous fashion. If the technique is performed at high speed on a single string voicing the same note, it may be referred to as "tremolo picking" or "double picking".

Dan Donegan American musician

Daniel Joseph Donegan is an American musician, who currently serves as the guitarist/keyboardist for heavy metal band Disturbed. Donegan began playing guitar as a teenager and eventually formed a band called Vandal, which was a 1980s-style hair band. He also played with some of the members of Vandal in another band that was called Loudmouth. Donegan was added to the guitar show "Chop Shop's" list of "Top 100 Most Complete Guitar Players of All Time" at number 76. Donegan is currently pursuing a side project band, Fight or Flight in collaboration with Disturbed band member Mike Wengren.

Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking. Specifically:

Serrana is a solo guitar etude that relies heavily on arpeggios and the technique of sweep picking. It was written and composed by neo-classical metal guitarist Jason Becker.

String harmonic

A string harmonic is a string instrument technique which uses the nodes of natural harmonics of a musical string to produce high pitched tones of varying timbre and loudness. String harmonics are "high pitched tones, like a whistle's, are produced when the musician lightly touches certain points on a string." "A flute-like sound produced on a string instrument by lightly touching the string with the finger instead of pressing it down," against the fingerboard.

"Mediterranean Sundance" is the third track on Elegant Gypsy (1977), the second album by Al Di Meola. This piece and "Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil", are the only two entirely acoustic tracks on the album. However, unlike "Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil" which is an acoustic solo by Di Meola, "Mediterranean Sundance" consists of an acoustic guitar duet with flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. With a duration of 5' 13", the song is a complex blend of jazz and flamenco influences.

Mario Parga British musician

Guitarist Mario Parga, born in Lytham, Lancashire, England on 7 August 1969, came into the spotlight during the late 1980s when he began appearing in numerous guitar and rock magazines such as Guitar Player, Metal Hammer, Kerrang, Metal Forces and played a live guitar solo on MTV's 'Metal Hammer' show.

Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist uses to set guitar strings in motion to produce audible notes. These techniques involve plucking, strumming, brushing, etc. Picking can be done with:

Dave Reffett is a hard rock and heavy metal guitarist, singer, producer and bassist from Blue River, Kentucky.

Heavy metal guitar

Heavy metal guitar is the use of highly-amplified electric guitar in heavy metal. Heavy metal guitar playing is rooted in the guitar playing styles developed in 1960s-era blues rock and psychedelic rock, and it uses a massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos and overall loudness. The electric guitar and the sonic power that it projects through amplification has historically been the key element in heavy metal. The heavy metal guitar sound comes from a combined use of high volumes and heavy distortion.

Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal is a Bangladeshi guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was the lead guitarist and the founder of the heavy metal band Warfaze. He was the band's guitarist and composer for three decades.

References

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  2. Lesson, Charlie Griffiths 2017-10-23T04:00:00Z. "Big Strokes: A Beginner's Guide to Sweep Picking". guitarworld. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  3. "Ritchie Blackmore an Early Shredder". WordPress.com. 2007-09-05.
  4. Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad (2002). Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time!. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 189. ISBN   978-0-6340-4619-3.
  5. Molenda, Michael. "Woodstock at 45. Day Three: Alvin Lee". GuitarPlayer.com. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  6. Yancik, Chris. "History of Shred: Eddie Van Halen". House of Shred. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06.
  7. "The Chicago Maroon — Buckethead impossibly good, unfathomably weird". Chicagomaroon.com. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  8. "Fabryka Music Magazine". Industrialrock.net. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  9. Projextra.ca. "Not Dead Yet: The Story of Jason Becker". Jasonbeckermovie.com / Opus Pocus Films Ltd. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  10. "Fastest Guitarist in the World? Phil Taylor Plays "Flight of the Bumblebee" at 1400 bpm". Guitar World. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  11. 1 2 "Fastest Guitar Shredders". Phil Brodie Band. Archived from the original on 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  12. 1 2 "Top 10 Fastest Shredders of All Time". Guitar One Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  13. "5 Shredding Bluegrass Songs - Page 1". Guitarworld.com. 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  14. "he Top 10 Shred Albums of All Time: Guitar World Readers' Poll Results". Guitarworld.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17.